Friday, September 26, 2014
Books that Taught Me Beauty Lessons
These books did not teach me beauty lessons in the sense of apply makeup or doing my hair-- but they did influence how I look at beauty, and what is beautiful.
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
This book was probably the closest to giving me literal beauty lessons, and it did lead me to looking into the traditional Asian beauty standards. At the time I read it, I was very into "Western" beauty styles like tanning. However, after reading the book I started realising that looking more delicate would be prettier on me. It also revealed to me how much beauty is pain. At the same time, beauty is strength. Chinese women bound their feet. Some died in the process, like Third Sister. Others ended up with perfect feet, like Snow Flower and Lily. Both were isolated and lived hard lives, yet they made the best of the situations they were put in. It showed me how beautiful friendship can be, too.
Looking for Alaska
Looking for Alaska is an excellent book by John Green that I read in about six hours, nonstop. By the end I was a bit of an emotional mess, but I did get a few important takeaways from it. The one related to beauty is that no matter how amazingly beautiful we think someone is, it doesn't mean they see themselves the same way. Miles sees Alaska as too good to be true- something impossibly perfect. While there is something beautiful in a disaster, one has to be careful to remember that behind everything a person is there.
Brave New World
I'm not crazy when I say Brave New World taught me lessons about beauty. Brave New World explores the ideas of community and stability. It's one of the few books I've read for school that I actually enjoyed-- in fact, it's one of my favourite books of all time. While exploring the themes of science and individual freedom, it also showed me what we as a society value. We all like looking essentially the same, even the makeup artists and fashionistas. We want to be accepted and loved, but we also don't want to touch those less than ourselves. Brave New World essentially taught me that in order to be beautiful by society's standards, we must give up our individuality in order to reach them. Do I necessarily think this is healthy? Nonsense. But it does help me understand why celebrities who acted wholesome suddenly get sexy, or why all college girls seem to wear the same things.
Have you read any of these? What books taught you beauty lessons?